Coleraine Chronicle and Coleraine Times
Two American brothers rode into Portstewart last week as part of their round the world cycling trip, designed to raise money for an orphanage in India. Randall and Andrew Leese arrived in Portstewart on Wednesday evening via the shores of Lough Neagh having left Newry early that morning. But whilst that might seem a daunting trip to many, the athletic siblings have already travelled over 7,000 miles from their home city of Seattle, collecting over £15,000 along the way.
The trip, which will take two years and 25,000 miles to complete, started back in April. Since then, they have cycled from coast to coast in the United States, through France, England and now Ireland. They hope to arrive in southern India via Turkey and Russia sometime in mid 2010 and deliver their pledge funds to the Servi Domini Orphanage in Palayamkottai.
“This is a dream I’ve had for two years,” says elder brother Andrew, 29. “Doing it as a fundraiser was kind of an afterthought. But after I emailed my brother, he jumped all over it and we decided to do it together. ”
Their current fundraising efforts have doubled their target, and the brothers are keen to thank sponsors from home and donors they have met along the way. Additionally, this is a ‘no overheads trip’, with the boys paying for their own living expenses and travel costs. Randall, 22, adds, “We’re essentially shelling out $30,000 of our own money to ensure that every penny donated to the orphanage really goes to its needs. Too many organizations recycle a significant percentage of their revenue into their own operation. We don’t like that. As for us, we’re basically bicycle delivery boys whose sense of adventure is totally disproportionate to the task at hand.”
Inspired by their sense of adventure, the brothers have overcome 32 flat tires and numerous parts changes as well as hills, wind and atrocious camping conditions. “Our next stop is Larne, then over to Scotland, and then we’ll be looking to head south into Spain and Morocco as the colder months close in” explained Andrew.
To read more about or to donate to The Orphan Ride, see their Web site: http://www.orphanride.org